A closer look at the US team in the Women’s World Cup

The highly anticipated 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup will be held in France on June 7 and will extend through to July 7. Teams from across the world are currently doing whatever they can to ensure that they make it to the finals and perhaps carry the title in a total of 52 matches.

The US team are the defending champions of the title having thrashed Japan 5-2 at BC Place Stadium in Canada in 2015. The US will not be leaving anything to chance as they eye the fourth World Cup title. 24 teams will take part in the 2019 tournament.

All eyes will be on the teams’ managers

The US coach Jill Ellis is a highly decorated manager who has shown the world what she is capable of. Despite taking over from Tom Sermanni just seven months prior to the 2015 World Cup, Ellis managed to impress the world. With little knowledge about the team, she was able to show that she was the right pick for the job after helping the US lift the 2015 trophy. This time around Ellis, who has now spent over four years with her team, will be facing her second test.

Will Ellis prove to the world that she is the best of the best and lead the US to their second successive title or will she let the fans down?

The key factor that will determine if Ellis’s side makes it to the finals is her choice of the squad. She has already confirmed the roster of the US players who will be part of this year’s World Cup title campaign.

We take a look at some of the key players to get a clue of how their participation will help the US in their quest for the title.

Alex Morgan

The 29-year-old forward, who also plays for the Orlando Pride, will be a key player in the US frontline. Her speed and unique skills will be a plus for the US. Morgan, who presented an impressive performance in the 2011 World Cup, was not in a good form during the 2015 World Cup, having come from an injury break. However, this time around Morgan is in a good shape.

Recently, Morgan scored her 100th career goal in the US Women’s national team against Australia. This feat makes her one of the most experienced strikers in this year’s event. Morgan scored 21 goals for her national team in the 2018/2019 season and has made 10 appearances for the US this year. Morgan scooped the US Soccer’s Female Player of the Year award after scoring 18 goals in 19 games in 2018.

Carli Lloyd

Carli Lloyd who will be coming into the World Cup for the fourth time, brings years of experience in the pitch with her. The 36-year-old currently plays for the Sky Blue FC. Lloyd will be part of the US attacking force. She has netted 110 international goals and 52 assists in 273 appearances for the US national team.

The two-time Olympic gold medalist scored 12 goals in the 2018/2019 season and will be aiming to add more to her tally in the tournament. Lloyd made history in the 2015 World Cup finals after scoring a hat trick against Japan within 16 minutes, earning the love and admiration of her fans across the globe. She was named the FIFA Player of the Year for two consecutive times in 2015 and 2016.

Alyssa Naeher

Alyssa Naeher is the USWNT’s starting goalkeeper in the World Cup tournament. Naeher will have a tough task of fitting in the shoes of Hope Solo who showed an impressive performance in the World Cup four years ago. Naeher who currently plays for the Chicago Red Stars, has had 24 clean sheets in 45 appearances for the USWNT.

In 2014 the 31-year-old was voted the National Women Soccer League’s (NWSL) goalkeeper of the year after achieving 106 saves in 24 games. Naeher has already made eight appearances for the USWNT this year.

Ali Krieger

The choice of Ali Krieger into the USWNT came as a surprise to many. Krieger had failed to make it into the USWNT’s roster for close to two years and her ending up in this year’s World Cup was almost impossible. It seems Ellis has faith in Krieger’s ability and believes she will play an important role in the defense.

Morgan currently plays for the Orlando Pride as a defender. The 34-year-old has made 100 appearances for the US national team and has produced eight assists in the process. Krieger has scored one goal for the club. She appeared in every game in the 2015 World Cup where she played a key role in the USWNT’s race to the title.

Morgan Brian

The inclusion of Morgan Brian in this year’s World Cup tournament means a stronger midfield for the USWNT. Morgan’s contribution was recognized in the 2015 World Cup where she showed a tremendous performance. Her best part was in the finals against Japan, when she neutralized Japan’s attack and supported the US attackers to help them win the World Cup title.

Brian will be hoping to apply the same in the upcoming tournament. She was also the youngest member of the US team in the 2015 World Cup. Brian has played three games for the Chicago Reds this year and has played 105 minutes. She has also made 82 appearances for the USWNT where she scored six goals and provided 11 assists.

However, Ellis’ choice of the 26-year-old who plays for the Chicago Red Stars, has elicited mixed reactions from fans and football experts across the globe. Fox’s Aly Wagner is among those who questioned the inclusion of Brian into the USWNT roster. The soccer analyst argues that Brian “hasn’t been fit and has not been in form” and would instead prefer another pick for the tournament.

The US is a team to beat in the 2019 Women’s World Cup

Judging from the above, the US team has a very strong squad in the World Cup. We should expect a possible increase in the number of goals for the USWNT as their current striking is better than ever. With the support of an even stronger midfield and defense, the US strikers led by Alex Morgan won’t hesitate to thrash their rivals.

The inclusion of players such as Carli Lloyd and Ali Krieger who have years of experience in the pitch, will be a plus for the US team. Ellis’ diverse choice of players is likely to play in her favor as they will be ready for any type of opponent.

As much as there are some difficult opponents like France, the US will not go down easy. The Jill Ellis’ side will come into this tournament highly motivated having lifted the trophy four years ago. The chemistry between Ellis and the players, tactical choice of the squad, the USWNT’s history in the World Cup and their desire to win will be key determinants in their quest to defend the title.

Photo by IQRemix via Wikicommons (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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